WBEZ | Rahm Emanuel http://www.wbez.org/tags/rahm-emanuel Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Indicted police commander suspended from duty 11 times, records show http://www.wbez.org/news/indicted-police-commander-suspended-duty-11-times-records-show-110810 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Evans 1tightcrop_2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr"><em>Updated on September 18 at 5:58 p.m.</em></p><p dir="ltr">Cook County prosecutors on Thursday unveiled an indictment of a Chicago police commander who allegedly rammed his pistol into an arrested man&rsquo;s mouth. A grand jury has charged Cmdr. Glenn Evans, 52, with aggravated battery and official misconduct.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans did not speak during the hearing, which took place at the George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building and lasted about 10 minutes.</p><p>On the way out of the courthouse, about two dozen supporters tightly surrounded him to shield him from news reporters and cameras. Those supporters, including Chicago police officers, stuck with him all the way to a waiting SUV that carried him away.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans will plead &ldquo;not guilty,&rdquo; according to his attorney, Laura J. Morask. &ldquo;Cmdr. Evans will not only be exonerated but vindicated,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It was a rush to judgment and I think you&rsquo;ll see that.&rdquo;</p><p>City records, meanwhile, show that Evans has been suspended from duty at least 11 times during his 28 years in the police department. Most of the suspensions took place during the first decade of his career, when he worked as a South Side patrol officer, according to the records, obtained by WBEZ through Freedom of Information Act requests.</p><p dir="ltr">The alleged infractions ranged from a missed court appearance to an off-duty &ldquo;domestic altercation.&rdquo; The two longest suspensions, both 15 days, stemmed from excessive-force accusations.</p><p>One of those cases begin in 1990, when Evans was assigned to the Gresham police district. A South Side mother allegedly ran afoul of Jackson Park Hospital personnel when she tried to visit her daughter, who was getting treated there after a sexual assault, according to the records.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans helped remove the mother from the hospital. Outside the facility, he allegedly slammed her against police vehicles and delivered punches that left her with a black eye and other injuries.</p><p>Evans later characterized the mother as intoxicated and uncooperative and denied the allegations, according to the records.</p><div><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans" style="text-align: center; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13.63636302948px; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px;" target="_blank"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Read all our coverage of Cmdr. Glenn Evans</strong></a></p><p dir="ltr">The other case began in 1994, when Evans suspected a South Side man stole property from the officer&rsquo;s car trunk. Evans, who was off duty, allegedly handcuffed the man, by an ankle and wrist, to a porch rail and beat him with his handgun.</p><p dir="ltr">The encounter left the man with a three-inch head gash and a cerebral concussion, according to the records. Evans denied using excessive force and claimed the man was resisting arrest.</p><p dir="ltr">Those disciplinary actions are among dozens of excessive-force complaints against Evans that city agencies have fielded since he joined the department in 1986. A report by former chief Chicago epidemiologist Dr. Steven Whitman <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/report-embattled-commander-no-1-excessive-force-complaints-110605">tallied 45 filed through 2008</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Since 2009, according to the records obtained through the FOIA requests, the city has received at least seven more excessive-force complaints against Evans, lifting the total to at least 52. City investigations have concluded that nearly all were &ldquo;not sustained&rdquo; or &ldquo;unfounded.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But six federal lawsuits alleging Evans brutality have led to five-figure city settlements. Those payments and related expenses total $282,467, according to a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/ousted-commander-leaves-trail-costly-lawsuits-110786">WBEZ review of court filings and city records</a>. Each settlement specifies that the defendants deny wrongdoing.</p><p>Morask, Evans&rsquo; attorney, called the complaints and settlements irrelevant to the criminal proceeding. &ldquo;The only thing that&rsquo;s relevant is what&rsquo;s in this indictment,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>&ldquo;Nobody likes to be arrested,&rdquo; Morask said. &ldquo;Complaints are just that. They are just complaints.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">At least three other lawsuits accusing Evans of excessive force are pending. In two, the defendants deny the allegations, according to city filings.</p><p dir="ltr">The third pending lawsuit was <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-police-commanders-alleged-battery-amounted-torture-110776">brought last week by Rickey J. Williams</a>, a South Side man whose allegations led to the criminal charges, both felonies.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans allegedly put the barrel of his service weapon into Williams&rsquo; mouth on January 30, 2013. Evans also allegedly pressed a Taser into his crotch and threatened to kill him.</p><p dir="ltr">DNA evidence prompted the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority to&nbsp;recommend in April that Evans be relieved of his police powers. WBEZ <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cpd-leaves-commander-post-despite-assault-allegation-dna-match-110581">revealed the case in July</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">But police Supt. Garry McCarthy, backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, left Evans in command of the Harrison police district until August 27, when the criminal charges were announced.</p><div>After Thursday&#39;s hearing, Morask criticized both IPRA and Alvarez&rsquo;s office. She said no investigators had interviewed Evans when the charges were brought.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;In my experience,&rdquo; said Morask, who worked for years in the State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s Office, &ldquo;something you always do before a case is charged is you ask the suspect their side of the story.&rdquo;</div><p dir="ltr">The arraignment is scheduled for next Wednesday.&nbsp;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 00:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/indicted-police-commander-suspended-duty-11-times-records-show-110810 Ousted commander leaves trail of costly lawsuits http://www.wbez.org/news/ousted-commander-leaves-trail-costly-lawsuits-110786 <p><p>Police brutality lawsuits against a Chicago district commander who allegedly put his pistol into a suspect&rsquo;s mouth have cost taxpayers more than a quarter million dollars, a WBEZ review of court records and city settlements has found.</p><p>That amount appears certain to increase as the city faces three more lawsuits, including one filed this week, that allege excessive force by the commander, Glenn Evans, 52. The plaintiffs&rsquo; cases could benefit from a criminal prosecution of Evans, who was charged last month with aggravated battery and official misconduct.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Evans 1tightcrop_0.jpg" style="float: right; width: 260px; height: 187px;" title="Evans faces felony charges in a criminal case that could benefit plaintiffs in three pending civil lawsuits against him. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /></div><p>To date, the city has paid out five-figure settlements in at least six lawsuits claiming Evans brutality, according to the records. The first two, totaling $25,000, came in 2002 and 2004.</p><p>Those settlements did not appear to tarnish Evans&rsquo; reputation among cops. Philip J. Cline, a police superintendent in Mayor Richard M. Daley&rsquo;s administration, promoted Evans to lieutenant in 2006 and assigned him to Gresham, a South Side district.</p><p>Within four years, the city had settled three more excessive-force lawsuits against Evans, lifting the payout total to $153,999.</p><p>In 2012, Supt. Garry McCarthy promoted Evans to be one of the city&rsquo;s 22 district commanders and assigned him to Grand Crossing, another South Side district.</p><p>Shootings dropped in Grand Crossing last year. McCarthy credited Evans. Some residents also praised the commander&rsquo;s work ethic and attentiveness.</p><p>This March, McCarthy transferred Evans to Harrison, the police district with the most homicides.</p><p>&ldquo;I got fires on the West Side,&rdquo; McCarthy said at a Police Board meeting that month, referring to the violence.</p><p>&ldquo;I got to get my best guy,&rdquo; McCarthy said, calling Evans &ldquo;probably the most aggressive district commander in the Chicago Police Department . . . probably my favorite among my favorites.&rdquo;</p><p>McCarthy described the transfer as a career advancement based on Evans&rsquo; &ldquo;wonderful work.&rdquo;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans" target="_blank"><strong>Read all our coverage of Cmdr. Glenn Evans</strong></a></p><p>By this point, the city had settled a sixth suit alleging Evans&#39; brutality, raising the payout total to $224,999.</p><p>In addition to the settlements, the city had incurred other expenses in these cases. Chicago Law Department records show outlays of at least $57,468 for experts, court reporting, medical-record copies and outside counsel.</p><p>Adding in those expenses, the price tag for lawsuits accusing Evans of excessive force is $282,467.</p><p>The settlements, considered individually, do not show culpability. All specify that their aim is to avoid the expense of further litigation. All specify that the defendants deny wrongdoing and liability.</p><p>But some civil-rights attorneys see a pattern and put much of the blame on superintendents who have promoted Evans.</p><p>&ldquo;McCarthy needs to be held accountable for the way he trains and disciplines his officers, particularly people he puts in positions of high authority,&rdquo; said Patrick Morrissey, a lawyer who filed one of the three unresolved brutality suits against Evans.</p><p>Neither McCarthy nor Mayor Rahm Emanuel answered WBEZ questions this week about Evans&rsquo; promotion to commander.</p><p><strong>Pending lawsuits</strong></p><p>Morrissey&rsquo;s client, Rita King, was arrested after a 2011 domestic conflict. Officers brought her to the Gresham station, where Evans was still based. In her first public comments about the incident, King this week told WBEZ she refused to be fingerprinted because officers had not informed her what charges she faced.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Rita%20King%20mug%20facing%20camera%20CROP.jpg" style="float: left; width: 230px; height: 189px;" title="Minutes before officers took this booking photo, Rita King says, Evans broke bones in her face and threatened to ‘push my nose through my brain.’ King has filed one of the three unresolved civil lawsuits alleging excessive force by him. (Chicago Police Department)" /></div><p>&ldquo;So the officer got upset with me,&rdquo; King recalled. &ldquo;He said, &lsquo;I&rsquo;m going to go get somebody to get your fingerprints.&rsquo; &rdquo;<br /><br />King said the officer brought in Evans, a lieutenant at the time, who &ldquo;grabbed me by the nose.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;He was using force against my face with his hand,&rdquo; King said. &ldquo;He kept saying, &lsquo;I&rsquo;m going to push your nose through your brain.&rsquo; &rdquo;</p><p>A court filing by the city said Evans used &ldquo;a reasonable degree of force in order to control King.&rdquo;</p><p>Two days after the incident, a physician at Roseland Community Hospital examined King and found multiple facial bone fractures, according to a hospital record.<br /><br />Another pending lawsuit against Evans stems from a 2012 police clash with protesters as Chicago hosted a NATO summit. Photojournalist Joshua Lott, the plaintiff, claims Evans and other officers threw him to the ground, stomped on him, hit him with batons or other instruments, and beat him. The suit says Lott identified himself as a member of the press &ldquo;but the beating continued unabated.&rdquo;</p><p>Evans and the other defendants deny those allegations, according to a court filing by the city.&nbsp;</p><p>The third pending lawsuit against Evans was brought Tuesday by Rickey Williams, a South Side man whose accusations led to the criminal charges against the commander. Evans allegedly put the barrel of his police pistol into Williams&rsquo; mouth last year, pressed a Taser into his crotch and threatened to kill him.</p><p>Williams&rsquo; suit cites a lab test that showed his DNA on Evans&rsquo; gun. WBEZ revealed that test and an April recommendation by the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority that the commander be relieved of police powers.</p><p>McCarthy, backed by Mayor Emanuel, did not follow that recommendation. McCarthy and Emanuel lauded Evans&rsquo; efforts against crime. The commander remained in his post until August 27, when Cook County prosecutors filed the charges, both felonies.</p><p>&ldquo;Until Cmdr. Evans was arrested and charged there had been no finding in the investigation,&rdquo; a written statement from McCarthy said this week. &ldquo;As soon as we were made aware of the charges, Cmdr. Evans was relieved of his police powers, pending the outcome of this matter.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;The alleged actions, if true, are unacceptable to the residents we serve and to the men and women of this department,&rdquo; McCarthy&rsquo;s statement added.</p><p>Evans&rsquo; attorney, Laura Morask, called the criminal investigation &ldquo;incredibly flawed&rdquo; and called the commander&rsquo;s actions lawful. She has not returned WBEZ messages seeking comment about the pending civil claims against Evans, who could not be reached for comment.</p><p><strong>Other complaints</strong></p><p>Most brutality complaints against Evans have not ended up in court. City agencies have fielded dozens of them since he joined the police department in 1986.</p><p>A report by former chief Chicago epidemiologist Dr. Steven Whitman says 45 brutality complaints were lodged against Evans during January 1988&ndash;May 2000 and May 2002&ndash;December 2008.</p><p>Authorities responsible for investigating those complaints found that two warranted disciplinary action, according to the Whitman report, prepared for a lawsuit against a different officer.</p><p>In requests under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, WBEZ asked for complaint summaries from Evans&rsquo; entire 28 years with the department.</p><p>Mayor Emanuel&rsquo;s administration has not provided those records.</p><p>At a news conference last week, WBEZ asked Emanuel how he planned to hold McCarthy accountable for advancing Evans&rsquo; career despite all the excessive-force lawsuits and complaints over the years.</p><p>Emanuel responded that the public should &ldquo;hold all of us accountable.&rdquo; The mayor then changed the subject to the criminal probe of Evans.</p><p>&ldquo;There were questions that had not been investigated,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;Once that conclusion was made and the investigation was concluded, actions were taken.&rdquo;</p><p>Evans, assigned to desk duty since the criminal charges were filed, earns an annual salary of $154,932.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 16:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ousted-commander-leaves-trail-costly-lawsuits-110786 Lawsuit: Police commander's alleged battery amounted to 'torture' http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-police-commanders-alleged-battery-amounted-torture-110776 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Williams presser 3 colors CROP scaled.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-f618ffc4-5cd6-35e9-fcc6-8e1ba4b86f98">A man whose brutality complaint led to felony charges against a Chicago police commander took his allegations to federal court Tuesday. Rickey J. Williams, 24, filed a lawsuit that accuses Glenn Evans of &ldquo;torture&rdquo; and says Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s administration condoned it.</p><p>The alleged abuse took place after Evans chased Williams into an abandoned South Side building on January 30, 2013. Evans, according to the suit,&nbsp;put a taser to Williams&rsquo;&nbsp;crotch, threatened his life, and inserted his police pistol where it did not belong.</p><p>&ldquo;They took the gun and put it down my throat,&rdquo; Williams says in a video provided by his legal team. &ldquo;They should get punished.&rdquo;</p><p>Williams attended a Tuesday news conference to announce his suit but did not speak.</p><p>The suit cites a lab test that showed Williams&rsquo; DNA on Evans&rsquo; gun. WBEZ revealed that test and an April recommendation by the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority that the commander be relieved of police powers.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans" target="_blank"><strong>Read all our coverage of Cmdr. Glenn Evans</strong></a></p><p>Emanuel, who was briefed on the recommendation, and police Supt. Garry McCarthy&nbsp;lauded Evans&rsquo; efforts against crime and left the commander in his post until the Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s Office charged him on August 27 with aggravated battery and official misconduct.</p><p>Evans&rsquo; attorney, Laura J. Morask, did not respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit. After the charges were filed, she called the criminal investigation &ldquo;incredibly flawed&rdquo; and said Evans&rsquo; actions were just and lawful.</p><p>Williams&rsquo; attorney, Antonio Romanucci, disputed a claim in a police report that the chase began after Evans&rsquo; spotted Williams holding a gun. Williams was simply standing at a bus stop, &ldquo;not doing anything,&rdquo; Romanucci said.</p><p>Inside the building, according to the lawsuit, Williams did not threaten harm to the commander or anyone else.</p><p>Police reports from the incident did not state that Williams resisted arrest, Cook County prosecutors said after charging Evans.</p><p>The commander &ldquo;battered&rdquo; Williams and threw him to the floor, the lawsuit says.</p><p>&ldquo;More than five&rdquo; officers were present during the alleged abuse, Romanucci said. &ldquo;A couple were holding [Williams] down.&rdquo;</p><p>The suit claims that the city has a &ldquo;widespread practice of failing to discipline&rdquo; officers for excessive force. That practice amounts to a &ldquo;de facto policy,&rdquo; according to the&nbsp;suit, and encourages cops to &ldquo;engage in misconduct with impunity and without fear of official consequences.&rdquo; The misconduct includes &ldquo;coercive interrogation techniques and torture on suspects.&rdquo;</p><p>The lawsuit does not specify an amount of monetary damages sought. Romanucci said the suit&rsquo;s&nbsp;aims extend beyond money and include changing city policies.</p><p>&ldquo;When you have a commander setting the example for [the] rank and file &mdash; that it&rsquo;s OK to do this in order to coerce confessions &mdash; and then, when IPRA recommends discipline, and no discipline is taken, it sends the clearest message across the board to the city of Chicago police officers that [brutality] is OK,&rdquo;&nbsp;Romanucci said.</p><p>Emanuel, in a written statement about the lawsuit, said Evans&rsquo; alleged actions, if they occurred, are &ldquo;deeply disturbing&rdquo; and &ldquo;have no place in our city and are not reflective of the actions and values of the men and women who serve in the Chicago Police Department.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Our policing philosophy is rooted in community policing and fostering stronger relationships with residents and communities, because we all have a role to play in the safety of our city,&rdquo; Emanuel&rsquo;s statement added.</p><p>Emanuel&rsquo;s role includes hiring, firing and supervising the city&rsquo;s&nbsp;police superintendent.</p><p>A statement from McCarthy about the lawsuit said &ldquo;personnel decisions for exempt-rank officers in the department are mine, and mine alone, whether it&rsquo;s a commander, a deputy chief or a chief.&rdquo;</p><p>At a news conference last week, WBEZ asked Emanuel how he planned to hold McCarthy accountable for promoting Evans to commander and later transferring him to the police district with the city&rsquo;s most homicides&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;despite dozens of excessive-force complaints against him over the years. The mayor responded that the public should &ldquo;hold all of us accountable.&rdquo;</p><p>Emanuel then changed the subject to this year&rsquo;s criminal probe of Evans. &ldquo;There were questions that had not been investigated,&rdquo; the mayor said. &ldquo;Once that conclusion was made and the investigation was concluded, actions were taken.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 18:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-police-commanders-alleged-battery-amounted-torture-110776 Chicago SRO owners say proposed city ordinance is 'hostile' http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-sro-owners-say-proposed-city-ordinance-hostile-110775 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/SRO ordinance.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-6a96fd4e-5c8e-a95a-a0fa-12b9a087e263">A new City Hall plan to preserve <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/slow-disappearing-act-chicago-sro-105836">fast-vanishing</a> affordable housing units in single-room occupancy (SRO) and residential hotels has some Chicago SRO owners upset.</p><p>The Single-Room Occupancy and Residential Hotel Preservation Ordinance, to be introduced at Wednesday&rsquo;s City Council meeting, includes incentives to induce building owners to maintain a certain threshold of affordable units in their buildings. There are few specifics about those incentives, but much of the measure focuses on financial penalties that owners would face if the number of affordable units in their buildings falls below a mandated percentage.</p><p>&ldquo;Essentially what has happened is the city wants to change the rules in the middle of the game,&rdquo; said Eric Rubenstein, Executive Director of the Single Room Housing Assistance Corporation, which works with building owners, operators and tenants to preserve SRO housing in Chicago. &ldquo;The properties are going to be dropping substantially in value because of the proposed ordinance, as now written,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Under the proposal, owners who wish to demolish or convert their properties to market-rate rentals would be required to maintain at least 20 percent of the building&rsquo;s units as affordable, or else pay a $200,000 &ldquo;preservation fee&rdquo; for every unit that falls short of that threshold. Additionally, if an owner wishes to sell a building, it would allow non-profits first crack at purchasing it and would require the owner to engage in good-faith negotiations with those organizations. If no sale occurs within six months of notifying non-profits, then the owner may attempt to sell the property to private developers.</p><p>&ldquo;The private market often moves too quickly for these non-profits to pull together the financing,&rdquo; explained Michael Negron, Chief of Policy to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, &ldquo;and so we wanted to make sure that there was enough period of time for these organizations to actually&hellip; know a sale is coming, and then work with potential lenders, work with the city, work with the state. There are different parties that could potentially help put together a deal like that, but they just need the time to do it.&rdquo;</p><p>The proposal would allow building owners to bypass this process altogether, and to approach the private market first, if they pay a fee of $200,000 on each unit for 30 percent of the units in the building. But many current owners fear that these fines will drastically undercut the selling price of their buildings.</p><p>&ldquo;The property values will have plunged based on the market being so restricted, that the only option essentially for a current owner when he or she is ready to sell is to turn to a non-profit,&rdquo; worried Rubenstein, &ldquo;and the non-profit could offer nickels or dimes on the dollar.&rdquo;</p><p>All fees collected through the proposed ordinance would go to a preservation fund, which the city would use to assist SRO owners with defraying the cost of maintaining, developing or improving their properties. Negron said, additionally, that the city already may have existing resources to preserve at least 700 SRO units through the end of 2018. He said owners may call the city&rsquo;s Department of Planning and Development to discuss rental subsidies from the Low Income Housing Trust Fund, and financing from TIF districts and low-interest loans, to maintain affordability.</p><p>Rubenstein said he and other building owners had hoped the city would employ more incentives than penalties to encourage affordability. He said SRHAC submitted a list of 15 suggested incentives for the city to consider in its ordinance, including exemptions from sales taxes, water fees, and the proposed minimum wage ordinance. Negron said many of the suggestions were impractical.</p><p>A broad coalition of advocates for the homeless, and low-income tenants around Chicago, praised the proposal.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s a great ordinance,&rdquo; said Adelaide Meyers, a former tenant of the Norman Hotel and affordable housing advocate. &ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s exactly what Chicago needs to maintain SROs throughout the city, because if we lose all our SROs we&rsquo;re going to have a lot of homeless people.&rdquo;</p><p>Meyers was herself displaced from the Norman Hotel when Cedar Street Co. bought the North Side property and converted it to upscale rentals within its <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/flats-chicago-developer-weighs-housing-affordability-debate-110475">FLATS portfolio</a>. Meyers now shares an apartment in the Rogers Park neighborhood with a friend, and with some rental assistance from her father.</p><p>&ldquo;I never thought that I would end up living in an SRO to start off with, but I lived in a few different ones for several years,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;So I could definitely end up back in an SRO.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 17:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-sro-owners-say-proposed-city-ordinance-hostile-110775 Despite excessive-force complaints, police commander maintains support http://www.wbez.org/news/despite-excessive-force-complaints-police-commander-maintains-support-110618 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Evans2verticalCROP.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: right; height: 307px; width: 300px;" title="Evans, 52, listens to a Harrison District resident Tuesday at a National Night Out event. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />At least 45 excessive-force complaints against him in less than two decades. At least three five-figure settlements in lawsuits accusing him of misconduct. An ongoing criminal investigation into his alleged assault of an arrestee. And a city agency&rsquo;s recommendation that his police powers be stripped.</p><p>Despite it all, Harrison District&nbsp;Cmdr. Glenn Evans maintains the support of not only Chicago&rsquo;s mayor and police superintendent but many rank-and-file cops and West Side residents. Some of them are expressing hope that Evans&rsquo; aggressive policing style could help combat crime in the district, which has led the city in homicides over the last year.</p><p>That hope was palpable this week during National Night Out, intended to help cops across the country build trust with the communities they patrol. At the Harrison event, a dinner gathering on a high-school ball field near Garfield Park, Evans and other uniformed cops mingled with a small crowd of neighborhood residents while Ald. Jason Ervin (28th Ward) took the microphone.</p><p>&ldquo;I want to thank Cmdr. Glenn Evans for his leadership in the last couple months,&rdquo; Ervin told the gathering.</p><p>Since his transfer to Harrison from a South Side district this March, Evans has also impressed Jimmy Simmons, a retired building contractor who co-facilitates West Humboldt Park community-policing meetings, where neighborhood residents discuss crimes ranging from drug dealing to vandalism. &ldquo;If you set up a meeting with [Evans], he addresses those issues right away,&rdquo; Simmons said. &ldquo;He goes out on the street himself.&rdquo;</p><p>The issue is what <em>happens</em> when Evans goes out on the street.</p><p>Last year in the Grand Crossing District, his previous post, the commander allegedly <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cpd-leaves-commander-post-despite-assault-allegation-dna-match-110581">jammed his pistol</a> into the mouth of an arrested man and threatened to kill him. A lab test found that DNA on the gun matched the arrested man.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans"><strong>Read all our coverage about Cmdr. Glenn Evans</strong></a></p><p>In April, based on the test results, the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) referred the case to the State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez office&rsquo;s&nbsp;for criminal investigation and recommended that Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s administration relieve the commander of his police powers pending the outcome of the case, which did not come to light until a WBEZ report last week.</p><p>Evans has also been the subject of at least three lawsuits in which the city has paid plaintiffs almost $190,000 to settle claims of excessive force or other misconduct. One was finalized <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/report-embattled-commander-no-1-excessive-force-complaints-110605">last year</a>, the others <a href="http://www.chicagoreporter.com/abusing-badge#.U-P2YuNdWSq">in 2009</a></p><p>And, this week, WBEZ obtained a report tallying those 45 <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/report-embattled-commander-no-1-excessive-force-complaints-110605">excessive-force complaints</a> against Evans between 1988 and 2008. That total put him on top of a list of 1,541 officers for whom the city provided data. Authorities responsible for investigating the complaints found that two warranted disciplinary action.</p><p>Do such numbers prove Evans has abused his badge?</p><p>&ldquo;More likely, this police officer is out there doing good police work and upsetting criminals,&rdquo; said a veteran Chicago patrol officer who has worked under the commander.</p><p>&ldquo;Evans is a very boots-on-the-ground commander,&rdquo; said the officer, who spoke on condition he not be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s unlike a lot of the other commanders I&rsquo;ve ever had an opportunity to work with &mdash; who play to the aldermen or play to other members of the community. He&rsquo;s all about getting crime off the street. If that means going and grabbing people on the corner himself, he&rsquo;s gone and done that.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;So he doesn&rsquo;t expect anything from us that he himself won&rsquo;t go out there and do, and he&rsquo;s shown that, time after time,&rdquo; the officer said.</p><p>G. Flint Taylor, a Chicago attorney who often represents plaintiffs alleging excessive police force, has a different take on those complaints against Evans. &ldquo;He is one of the worst, if not the worst repeater cop, in the history of the city of Chicago,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Taylor points out that thousands of Chicago cops have been tough on crime without drawing dozens of complaints, like Evans has. &ldquo;He should be fired,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Rev. Marshall Hatch, the longtime pastor of New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in West Garfield Park, said the Emanuel administration&rsquo;s ability to leave Evans in his post, even after the IPRA recommendation, shows what can happen when the mayor appoints all city officials in charge of police accountability. Those include IPRA&rsquo;s chief administrator, the police superintendent and the Police Board.</p><p>Hatch also voiced concern about the allegations against Evans. &ldquo;If they are substantiated, then you simply can&rsquo;t have that kind of breach of credibility as a commander in a district like this &mdash; where you really have to build police-community relations.&rdquo;</p><p>But the pastor avoided calling for Evans&rsquo; ouster. &ldquo;We want to lend all the support we can to a commander in a district that has so many challenges,&rdquo; Hatch said.</p><p>Evans last week declined to comment on the IPRA case. At the neighborhood gathering this week, the&nbsp;commander&nbsp;would not talk with a reporter about the complaints against him.</p><p>Interviewed at that event, Ervin, the alderman, said he was not taking a stand on whether an officer with Evans&rsquo; record should be stripped of police powers.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s ultimately a question that the superintendent has to answer,&rdquo; Ervin said, referring to Supt. Garry McCarthy. &ldquo;I will withhold any judgment until either speaking with him or, if there&rsquo;s an ongoing investigation with the state&rsquo;s attorney, until they announce something or make something definite in relation to this.&rdquo;</p><p>On Thursday, WBEZ asked McCarthy what message it sent to officers to leave Evans in his post after the excessive-force complaints and the recommendation that the commander&rsquo;s police powers be stripped. The superintendent did not answer.</p><p>Earlier this week, a police department spokesman credited Evans for a drop in shootings in Grand Crossing last year but declined to answer questions about McCarthy&rsquo;s handling of the commander. &ldquo;We take any allegations seriously but, as is always the case, we cannot comment on an ongoing investigation,&rdquo; the spokesman wrote.</p><p>Another question is how Evans&rsquo; policing style will go over with West Siders in the long term.</p><p>&ldquo;They won&rsquo;t trust cops who are meant to protect them if cops act as if they are lawless,&rdquo; said Xavier Stewart, 20, a college student who lives in the commander&rsquo;s district and attended the National Night Out event. &ldquo;In this community, where things are kind of bad, you need police [officers] to do their jobs.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;And if they don&rsquo;t do their jobs,&rdquo; Stewart warned, &ldquo;the community will answer back to that and think of it as, &lsquo;Why should I trust cops if they&rsquo;re going to act this way?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 07:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/despite-excessive-force-complaints-police-commander-maintains-support-110618 Report: Embattled commander No. 1 for excessive-force complaints http://www.wbez.org/news/report-embattled-commander-no-1-excessive-force-complaints-110605 <p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-93192654-a82a-222c-a2eb-64ef1c46f5be"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Evans%201tightcrop.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: right; height: 215px; width: 300px;" title="Evans, a 28-year department veteran, remains in his Harrison District post despite a city agency’s recommendation that his police powers be stripped. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />An analysis of excessive-force complaints against hundreds of Chicago police officers is raising more questions about a district commander who is under investigation for allegedly assaulting an arrestee.</p><p>The 49-page report, authored by a former Chicago chief epidemiologist, found that Harrison District Cmdr. Glenn Evans had at least 45 excessive-force complaints between January 1988 and December 2008. During those decades, according to the report, Evans had the highest number of complaints among 1,541 officers for whom the city provided data.</p><p>The author, Dr. Steven Whitman, compiled and studied five city datasets listing 13,527 excessive-force complaints for the officers. Whitman, who died last month, finished the analysis in 2010 for a lawsuit against one of the cops. The report, obtained by WBEZ, has remained out of public view.</p><p><a href="http://peopleslawoffice.com/about-civil-rights-lawyers/attorney-staff-bios/flint-taylor/">G. Flint Taylor</a>, a partner at the People&rsquo;s Law Office, said the Whitman analysis showed something about Evans that he and his colleagues had long suspected. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s one of the worst [excessive-force] repeater cops in the history of the city of Chicago,&rdquo;&nbsp;Taylor said.&nbsp;&ldquo;He should be fired.&rdquo;</p><p>WBEZ last week revealed an April <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cpd-leaves-commander-post-despite-assault-allegation-dna-match-110581">recommendation by the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority</a> that Evans be stripped of police powers. In that case, Evans allegedly jammed his police pistol into an arrestee&rsquo;s mouth and threatened to kill him. A test found that DNA evidence on the gun matched the arrestee, Rickey J. Williams, 24.</p><p>IPRA also referred the case to Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez&rsquo;s office for criminal investigation.</p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel did not respond to questions about his administration&rsquo;s handling of Evans in light of the Whitman report. Last week an Emanuel spokesman said the mayor would not comment on the IPRA recommendation because that investigation was ongoing.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans"><strong>Read all our coverage about Cmdr. Glenn Evans</strong></a></p><p>A spokesman for police Supt. Garry McCarthy, questioned Monday about the Whitman report, wrote that the police department takes any allegations seriously but cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.</p><p>The McCarthy spokesman, Martin Maloney, also lauded Evans, a 28-year department veteran. &ldquo;Throughout his career, Cmdr. Glenn Evans has reduced crime and violence for the communities he has served,&rdquo; Maloney wrote, crediting Evans for improvements in a South Side district he commanded until March.</p><p>&ldquo;Under Cmdr. Evans&rsquo; leadership, the 3rd District had 80 fewer shootings last year than in 2012, the second largest decline in the city,&rdquo; Maloney wrote.</p><p>That praise sounds familiar to Taylor, who has filed lawsuits about Jon Burge, a former Chicago police commander imprisoned for lying about torture. &ldquo;In the police department&rsquo;s view, he was effective,&rdquo; Taylor said. &ldquo;At the same time, he was torturing over 100 African-American men.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;There are many proactive cops in high-crime areas that do not rack up a fraction of the complaints that Evans and the other bad guys have,&rdquo; Taylor said.</p><p>Authorities responsible for investigating the Evans complaints in the Whitman report found that two warranted disciplinary action. That gave Evans a 4.4 percent rate of complaints sustained, compared to a 3.0 percent average for all the officers in the report.</p><p>Evans has also been the subject of at least three lawsuits in which the city has paid plaintiffs to settle claims of excessive force or other misconduct.</p><p>In one of those settlements, finalized last December, the city agreed to pay $71,000 to Chicago resident Chas Byars Sr., who accused Evans of grabbing his infant son&rsquo;s car seat so forcefully during an arrest that the baby fell out and hit his head on a table. Neither the city nor Evans admitted wrongdoing.</p><p>Evans did not return WBEZ calls on Monday. Reached last week about the Williams case, the commander declined to comment.</p><p>Some <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/despite-excessive-force-complaints-police-commander-maintains-support-110618">rank-and-file officers and community members have praised Evans</a> as a hard-working cop and attentive commander.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 16:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/report-embattled-commander-no-1-excessive-force-complaints-110605 CPD leaves commander in post despite assault allegation, DNA match http://www.wbez.org/news/cpd-leaves-commander-post-despite-assault-allegation-dna-match-110581 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/mugs%20combined.JPG" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: right; height: 195px; width: 300px;" title="A complaint says Evans, right, jammed his police pistol into the mouth of Rickey J. Williams, left. (Photos from IDOC and CPD)" />Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s administration is leaving a West Side police commander in his post despite an April recommendation by the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority that his police powers be stripped.</p><p>The recommendation followed a DNA test bolstering a complaint that Harrison District Cmdr. Glenn Evans, 52, assaulted a South Side arrestee.</p><p>The complaint, according to sources close to the case, alleges that Evans threatened to kill Rickey J. Williams, 24, and jammed his police pistol into the man&#39;s mouth. The sources spoke on condition they not be identified because they are not authorized to speak with the media.</p><p>The DNA test, described in an April 17 <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/235513963/Evans-ISP-Lab-Report">laboratory report</a> from the Illinois State Police, found that material swabbed from the weapon &ldquo;matches the DNA profile&rdquo; of Williams.</p><p>IPRA, the city agency that investigates complaints of excessive police force, referred the case to Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez&rsquo;s office for criminal investigation. An Alvarez spokesperson said the office is &ldquo;not in a position at this time to make any public comment about the case.&rdquo;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans">Read all our coverage about Cmdr. Glenn Evans</a></strong></p><p>Spokespersons for police Supt. Garry McCarthy and Mayor Emanuel said they would not comment on the complaint because of the ongoing investigations.</p><p>The incident took place January 30, 2013, near the corner of East 71st Street and South Eberhart Avenue, according to a police report about the arrest. Evans, a commander who takes pride in patrolling the streets, was on duty in Grand Crossing, a South Side district he commanded at the time.</p><p>Evans spotted Williams with a blue-steel handgun in his pocket and chased the man on foot into an abandoned building, according to the arrest report. At least two other officers joined Evans on the scene.</p><p>Williams&rsquo; complaint, as described by the sources, alleges that a taser gun was pressed into his crotch while Evans held the police pistol in his mouth.</p><p>Reached by WBEZ, Evans declined to comment.</p><p>Vincent L. Jones, an IPRA investigator on the case, declined to comment or provide a copy of the complaint.</p><p>After the arrest, police and fire personnel searched the area but did not find the gun Williams allegedly possessed, according to another source close to the investigation.</p><p>Neither Evans nor the assisting officers filed a tactical response report as required when unusual force is used.</p><p>Williams was charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct. Months later, according to court records, officials dropped the charge when Williams demanded a trial.</p><p>Williams could not be reached for comment. Illinois is holding him in Pontiac Correctional Center, a downstate prison, for offenses unrelated to his encounter with Evans. Williams&rsquo; record includes felony convictions for possessing marijuana and violating electronic-monitoring terms.</p><p>As Williams began his prison sentence, IPRA&rsquo;s investigation of Evans continued. Based on the lab results, the agency sent a memo to McCarthy, the police superintendent. The memo, signed by IPRA Chief Administrator Scott Ando, points to the DNA match and recommends that the police department relieve Evans of his police powers and &ldquo;evaluate&rdquo; the commander&rsquo;s assignment.</p><p>Ando did not answer WBEZ questions about the case. His spokesman said IPRA could not comment because the investigation is ongoing.</p><p>Evans has been the subject of several lawsuits alleging excessive force or other misconduct. Those suits have led to at least <a href="http://www.chicagoreporter.com/abusing-badge#.U9ncP-NdWSp">two settlement payouts</a> by the city.</p><p>Evans is also among 662 Chicago officers with more than 10 misconduct complaints during the five years that ended in May 2006, according to <a href="http://the.invisible.institute/police-data/">long-sought records</a> the city released Tuesday. During that period, Evans had 14 complaints, none of which resulted in discipline.</p><p>Many <a href="http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2012/08/command-changes.html">rank-and-file officers</a> and some <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140321/chatham/garry-mccarthy-tells-angry-crowd-why-he-changed-3rd-district-commander">community members</a> have called Evans&rsquo; policing style appropriate for the tough districts in which he has served. <a href="http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/01/01/superintendent-mccarthy-assists-in-arrest-on-west-side/">McCarthy himself</a> has praised Evans&rsquo; work repeatedly.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 00:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cpd-leaves-commander-post-despite-assault-allegation-dna-match-110581 Lucas chooses Chicago for his art, memorabilia museum http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/lucas-chooses-chicago-his-art-memorabilia-museum-110405 <p><p>Get your lightsabers ready: The George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is coming to Chicago.</p><p>George Lucas and the museum board announced Tuesday they had chosen Chicago as the home for the museum, beating out San Francisco and Los Angeles.</p><p>It all started more than four years ago, in a galaxy far, far away -- also known as George Lucas&rsquo; home of San Francisco. Lucas&rsquo; originally wanted to build his museum for art and movie memorabilia at Crissy Field, land owned by the Presidio Trust. But when his plans were rejected earlier this year, he began looking into other options.</p><p>In a statement, the Lucas Museum board says Chicago&rsquo;s proposed site by Soldier Field was &ldquo;significantly larger&rdquo; and closer to public transportation than the sites San Francisco was offering. The board also lauded Chicago&rsquo;s museum campus - the proposed site for the museum - as &ldquo;vibrant,&rdquo; and &ldquo;centrally located in a city renowned for its love of art and architecture.&rdquo;</p><p>Though he&rsquo;s from California, Lucas has his own personal connections to Chicago. Lucas&rsquo; wife, Mellody Hobson, is a prominent businesswoman from Chicago. The couple celebrated their wedding at Promontory Point along the Lake Michigan shore. The city closed down the entire park for the event.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been lobbying for major cultural institutions to move to or take root in Chicago. A mayoral-appointed task force last month recommended the Lucas museum be built along the lakefront, in the now-parking lots between Soldier Field and McCormick Place</p><p>Emanuel called landing the Lucas Museum a &ldquo;tremendous opportunity&rdquo; for the city. He&rsquo;s said in the past taxpayers wouldn&rsquo;t be footing the bill for the billion-dollar investment.</p><p>The mayor has also attempted to assure Bears fans that the Lucas museum won&rsquo;t keep them from tailgating before home games. Last month, he told reporters at an unrelated event that &ldquo;there&rsquo;s going to be tailgating. Full stop.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t thank George and Mellody enough,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;No other major American city has these type of cultural education institutions, with a great Northerly Island creating a vibrant, green museum campus - unparalleled in the United States.&rdquo;</p><p>In a statement, George Lucas says Chicago is the right decision for the museum, but the Bay area will always be his home.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ Reporter. Follow her </em><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian"><em>@laurenchooljian</em></a></p></p> Wed, 25 Jun 2014 07:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/lucas-chooses-chicago-his-art-memorabilia-museum-110405 Watch Chicago's 2nd Ward fly north over the years http://www.wbez.org/news/watch-chicagos-2nd-ward-fly-north-over-years-110293 <p><div class="image-insert-image ">Last week <a href="http://wbezdata.tumblr.com/post/86343915004/mapping-rahm-emanuels-2011-victory-and-how-that-may" target="_blank">we looked at</a> where Rahm Emanuel had support in his 2011 election and how that might shift, but one of the major pieces of geography that will change in 2015 are the boundaries themselves.</div><p>In 2012 aldermen approved a new ward map, as they do every 10 years with the decennial census. And as is also a Chicago tradition, there were calls of gerrymandering, civil rights abuses and the eventual lawsuit.</p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s redistricting efforts have been challenged in three of the past four attempts going back to 1980. That&rsquo;s why you&rsquo;ll find two different maps in use in the 1980s and 1990s, and very possibly later this decade as well (A lawsuit from the League of Women Voters is <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140228/downtown/city-ward-map-lawsuit-headed-back-court" target="_blank">working its way through the courts)</a>.</p><p>Inspired by a <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/05/15/americas-most-gerrymandered-congressional-districts/" target="_blank">series of articles from the <em>Washington Post</em>&rsquo;s Christopher Ingraham</a>, we decided to see just how gerrymandered Chicago&rsquo;s wards have become. Ingraham created a 0-100 scale to measure the level of gerrymandering in congressional districts and we reproduced that to see how Chicago&rsquo;s wards stacked up to Congress.</p><p>We used maps from three sources: The <a href="http://hue.uadata.org">Historical Urban Ecological data set</a>, the <a href="http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/collections/maps/chigis.html">University of Chicago</a>, and the <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/doit/dataset/boundaries_-_wards.html">city</a> of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/no-sidebar/approved-ward-map-95662">Chicago</a>.</p><p>We loaded those maps in a PostGIS database and followed Ingraham&rsquo;s methodology, specifically applying the <a href="http://www.redistrictingthenation.com/whatis-compactness.aspx">Polsby-Popper method</a> to determine a gerrymandering score (on a 0-1 scale), then converting it to a 0-100 scale.</p><blockquote><p><em>If you&rsquo;re playing along at home, the formula we used was 100*(1-(((4*3.14)*Area)/Perimeter^2))</em></p></blockquote><p>A few caveats before we continue:</p><p>-Polsby-Popper isn&rsquo;t the only way to measure gerrymandering and may not capture aspects some would associate with gerrymandering. We followed along with Ingraham&rsquo;s method to make comparisons.</p><p>-A perfect compactness score of 0 would be a circle, but no area can be split into a bunch of circles. A series of perfect squares would score 21.5.</p><p>-Compactness of a ward doesn&rsquo;t take into account population, demographics or keeping communities together, something required by the Voting Rights Act. That means sometimes a less-compact district can better serve a community.</p><p>-Chicago is a weird looking city (geographically speaking). With Lake Michigan, the O&rsquo;Hare annexation and its extreme North-South orientation, there are a lot of irregular boundaries. The city itself scores 88.8 on our gerrymandering scale (which may say something about <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/gulp-how-chicago-gobbled-its-neighbors-109583" target="_blank">how the city came together</a>, but that&rsquo;s what we&rsquo;re working with).</p><p>With that said, this is a good starting point to look at how Chicago&rsquo;s wards have changed over the years, and how it compares to other civic divisions.</p><p><strong>1927</strong></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1927_0.jpg" style="height: 378px; width: 320px;" title="Chicago City Council Wards, 1927 (Source: Historical Urban Ecological data set)" /></div><p>Chicago first split into 50 wards in the 1920s. Before then there were 35 wards with two aldermen each. Reformers hoped that having one alderman per ward (and 50 instead of 70) <a href="http://www.lib.niu.edu/1979/ii790211.html" target="_blank">would help reduce corruption</a>. The fact that this story exists implies that it did not.</p><p>That first attempt at 50 wards (with annexation thrown in in 1927) is pretty compact, and contains mostly shapes your toddler could name. You can see in the map above that most ward lines are fairly straight, with the Chicago River the main natural divider creating some squiggles.</p><p>At this point the 2nd Ward is a fairly regular shape, more or less a six-sided polygon.</p><p><strong>2nd Ward score: 43.37. Chicago score: 48.74.</strong></p><p><strong>1986</strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1986_0.jpg" style="height: 378px; width: 320px;" title="Chicago City Council Wards, 1986 (Source: University of Chicago)" /></p><p>Fast forward to 1986 (the next year we could find electronic ward maps). These boundaries were drawn after the election of Harold Washington as mayor and a <a href="http://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2730&amp;context=cklawreview">4-year-long court battle</a>, so would only be in effect until 1992.</p><p>While the map as a whole has undergone some major changes, the 2nd Ward is relatively close to its original shape. The boundaries to the north, west and east are in basically the same spot, but it has grown to the south. Also, notice how the southern boundary is more irregular.</p><p><strong>2nd Ward score: 45.06. Chicago score: 61.58.</strong></p><p><strong>1992/1998</strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1998_0.jpg" style="height: 378px; width: 320px;" title="Chicago City Council Wards, 1998 (Source: University of Chicago)" /></p><p>Following the 1990 census the Chicago City Council couldn&rsquo;t decide on a new ward map so they sent two proposals to voters in a referendum. Again, the choice was challenged and went to the courts, and a new ward map came in 1998. The process <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-11-09/opinion/ct-edit-wards-1109-jm-20111109_1_new-chicago-ward-map-incumbent-aldermen-census" target="_blank">cost the city $18.7 million</a>.</p><p>This is the first major change for the 2nd Ward. Other than its eastern edge on Lake Michigan, the whole thing is blown up and now resembles something like a transposed &lsquo;L.&rsquo; Not only does most of it move north, but its long, skinny shape extends west halfway across the city.</p><p>In this one change, the 2nd Ward goes from one of Chicago&rsquo;s more regular wards to one of the more gerrymandered.</p><p>While the new 1998 map had some big changes for certain districts, there was little change as far as the gerrymandering score for the city or Ward 2.</p><p><strong>1992: 2nd Ward score: 84.89. Chicago score: 69.91.</strong></p><p><strong>1998: 2nd Ward score: 85.10. Chicago score: 69.71.</strong></p><p><strong>2002</strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2002_0.jpg" style="height: 378px; width: 320px;" title="Chicago City Council Wards, 2002 (Source: City of Chicago)" /></p><p>After the 2000 census an amazing thing happened: Chicago passed a ward map that didn&rsquo;t get thrown out by the courts. In true Chicago style, though, this came because of more gerrymandering, not less.</p><p>Mayor Richard M. Daley <a href="http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=164131">worked with black and Latino councilors to craft wards that were acceptable to them</a>, creating safer constituencies at the expense of compactness.</p><p>The 2nd Ward is barely touching its original area, a plume of smoke rising from the ashes of its foundation. Its continued its northern path and now swallows up Burnham Harbor, Soldier Field and and the Field Museum.</p><p>This is the first time the 2nd Ward is Chicago&rsquo;s most gerrymandered, narrowly passing the 41st (91.28).</p><p><strong>2nd Ward score: 91.33. Chicago score: 69.71.</strong></p><p><strong>2015</strong></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2015_0.jpg" style="height: 378px; width: 320px;" title="Chicago City Council Wards, 2015 (Source: City of Chicago)" /></div><p>These are the wards that will elect our next round of aldermen in February, unless of course they don&rsquo;t.</p><p>The 2nd Ward was moved not only entirely north of where it was in 1927, but north of where it was in 2002. This got a lot of attention after the <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-01-20/news/ct-met-city-council-new-ward-map-20120120_1_new-ward-map-aldermen-vote-whitney-woodward">map was approved in 2012</a>, because it moved current 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti into the 28th Ward, seemingly a punishment for not sticking with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.</p><p>WBEZ produced <a href="http://www.wbez.org/no-sidebar/approved-ward-map-95662">an interactive map of the new wards</a> along with demographic profiles of each ward back in 2012. Check out that link for more information on the process as well.</p><p>The end result is that the 2nd Ward is now solidly Chicago&rsquo;s most gerrymandered, with the 1st Ward ranking second at 91.48.</p><p><strong>2nd Ward score: 94.16. Chicago score: 74.18.</strong></p><p><strong>How Does Chicago Compare?</strong></p><p>Going back in Ingraham&rsquo;s work with states and congressional districts, Chicago and the 2nd Ward fit in pretty well. Chicago matches up well with states like Missouri as in the upper half, but not near the most gerrymandered. The 2nd Ward, though, would be just outside the top-10 for most-gerrymandered district (Illinois 4th is No. 8).</p><p>Again, these scores may be indicators of gerrymandering but is by no means the final word. That will come later from the legal system.</p></p> Thu, 05 Jun 2014 14:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/watch-chicagos-2nd-ward-fly-north-over-years-110293 Mexico City startups eye Chicago as U.S. tech hub http://www.wbez.org/news/mexico-city-startups-eye-chicago-us-tech-hub-110229 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/288732880_a35cf41b31_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago could be further expanding its tech reach with help from Latin America.</p><p>Last fall, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Mexico City Mayor Miguel Mancera signed an economic partnership that includes joint trade initiatives and strengthening overall global competitiveness. As part of that agreement, a delegation from Mexico City this week got a first-hand look at Chicago&rsquo;s economic strategy.</p><p>It&rsquo;s part of an experimental exchange initiated by the Brookings Institution.</p><p>The group learned about Chicago&rsquo;s restaurant business, its tourism efforts and tech scene.</p><p>Felipe Lara was part of the delegation. He was particularly interested in learning more about Chicago&rsquo;s startup environment. He founded a company called <a href="http://www.cono-c.com/" target="_blank">Conoce</a> in Mexico City. It uses camera and algorithm technologies to track shopper behavior. He&rsquo;s hoping to find partners in Chicago to help sell his product in the U.S.</p><p>WBEZ&#39;s Susie An spoke with Lara and Greg Stevens from the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. Lara explained why international startups might choose Chicago over Silicon Valley.</p><p><em>Susie An is a business reporter for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/soosieon" target="_blank">@soosieon.</a></em></p></p> Fri, 23 May 2014 14:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/mexico-city-startups-eye-chicago-us-tech-hub-110229